Prohibition of Political Publicity

Part of Clause 2 – in the House of Commons at 10:01 pm on 25th March 1986.

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Photo of Mr Peter Bruinvels Mr Peter Bruinvels , Leicester East 10:01 pm, 25th March 1986

The essence of my hon. Friend's intervention is that the council was wasting ratepayers' money on promoting the Labour party rather than helping the people who live in the city and who have to pick up the tab at the end of the year. Many houses could have been repaired with those exorbitant, wasted funds, yet the council deliberately chose to keep 12,000 houses throughout the county unoccupied so that it could claim there was a housing crisis in the city of Leicester. That was a dereliction of duty. The city council was elected to give value for money. It was not a Conservative council, so I suppose it did not try to give value for money, because it was spending money that did not belong to it.

Only last week, for instance, the Trades Unions Congress women's conference came to Leicester. Instead of the local authority charging the TUC £1,250 for hosting the conference, it gave the facilities free because it was its Labour party friends from London who were coming to Leicester. If any other organisation, including the ex-service men of Leicester, had tried to hire the De Montfort Hall, it would have had to pay. Why is the city council using such propaganda? Why are the Government doing away with the appropriate clause in the Bill? If some people in Leicester have a different view from that expressed by the city council, why should it not be promoted?

The council is wasting money, with the latest edition of Leicester Link, promoting Labour party propaganda and spending about £3,000 on promoting what the Labour group on Leicester council feels about Nelson Mandela. Why should the ratepayers, the citizens of Leicester, have to pay £3,000 to be told what the city council reads and feels about the struggle—